The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that despite the commitment of U.S. forces elsewhere, the military is capable of conducting operations against Iran if called on to bomb nuclear facilities and other targets.
Adm. Michael Mullen told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday: “From a military standpoint, there is more than enough reserve to respond if that, in fact, is what the national leadership wanted to do, and so I don’t think we’re too stretched in that regard.”
Defense and military officials have been preparing American forces within striking distance of Iran, according to the Washington Times. Attacks on the Islamic Republic would be carried out largely by the Navy and Air Force.
Officials say one target of any U.S. military action would be Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps facilities because of their role in providing insurgents in Iraq with armor-piercing roadside bombs. One official said the factory where Iranian bomb materials are being produced has been located.
A second target would be Iran’s nuclear facilities, which are chiefly underground and spread across the country.
Appearing with Mullen at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it would probably spur other nations in the region to obtain those weapons themselves. That in turn would raise the risk of nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists.
But Adm. Mullen said the use of military force against Iran would be an option “of the last resort.”
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